3986 Byrnes Dr.
Saint Stephen, SC 29479
Phone: (843) 567-7397
Fax: (843) 567-2497
Arts & Museums
Located in a former police department building in the historic district, this small 1993 museum houses exhibits, relics, models and artifacts about the history of Summerville and surrounding area. By appointment, one-hour walking tours are offered by the museum that take visitors past Victorian and pre-Civil War plantation homes (around USD10 adults, USD5 children ages 12-17, and free for children under 12). The museum also has a gift shop with books and activity books for children. In March the museum holds a plant sale and on the third Thursday of each month it holds a gathering open to the public with live entertainment and carriage rides. Closed New Year's, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Admission is free, but donations are accepted. No credit cards; cash and checks accepted; street parking only. -Natasha Lawrence
Follow the winding road off Highway 17 that leads to a 274-acre (111-hectare) former rice plantation on Wambaw Creek. Located 16 miles (about 26 kilometers) south of Georgetown, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark. Visitors can tour the Georgian style mansion, camellia gardens, the dependent and slave buildings and archeological sites. South Carolina poet laureate, Archibald Rutledge, was the last resident; he gave the property to the state as a park. In 1791 George Washington stayed here during his Southern tour. The park is closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. There is an admission fee to tour the house, but touring the grounds is free. -Natasha Lawrence
Sitting on a knoll overlooking the Sampit River and Georgetown Harbor, this 1769 Georgian style home was built by Paul Trapier, a wealthy merchant sometimes called "The King of Georgetown." It is one of 40 antebellum houses in the historic Georgetown area. Visitors can take an hourly tour of the home featuring English and American furnishings and art pieces. In 1931, the house was purchased by Harold and Julia Kaminski. It was then bequeathed to the City of Georgetown in 1972 and became a museum. There is a gift shop that offers books on the house and area history and memorabilia. Admission fee includes a tour. -Natasha Lawrence
Located on the former Charleston Naval Base in memory of the thousands of military and civilian personnel who served when the base was open and active, this beautiful park on the west side of the Cooper River is well worth a trip off the beaten tourist path. Steel plate photographs of the Navy Yard from 1901 to 1996 are exhibited against a wall that resembles one side of an aircraft carrier. There are plaques, statues of the Lone Sailor and the Homecoming as well as models of the different ships that were built here (256) or called North Charleston home. Visitors can walk the boardwalk along the river, see the modern art exhibits around the park or let their children play on the playground nearby. Admission is free. Free parking is in a nearby lot. Many festivals and community celebrations are held here. - Natasha Lawrence
Once the third oldest city in the American colonies, this seafaring town is comprised of 16 blocks on the Sampit River on Winyah Bay and the Intracoastal Waterway. Dotted with shrimp and tour boats docked along the scenic Harborwalk boardwalk, visitors can enjoy landmarks and museums such as the 1842 Old Market Building Rice Museum with exhibits and artifacts on the production of "Carolina Gold" rice that made South Carolina wealthy. Front Street has a variety of quaint gift shops, restaurants, art galleries and museums. The Visitor Center provides maps, brochures and information on tours of the city that include some of the historic homes. - Natasha Lawrence
Unknown to many Americans, rice was an important crop to the South. The economy of this region revolved around the grain for many years in the 1800's. Through dioramas, maps, artifacts and other exhibits, you can see what life was like on a rice plantation and learn why and how rice was so important. Next-door is the Maritime Museum which you can visit on the same ticket and which features the fifty-foot Browns Ferry vessel. Admission: Adults $7, Seniors (60+) $5, Children/Students (6-21) $3. Children under 6 are free when accompanied by an adult.
Georgetown was one of the wealthiest towns on the South Carolina coast until the Civil War in 1860 brought the economy to a halt. The museum exhibits show the rise and fall of this colonial town. More than 300 years of Georgetown County and surrounding area history are display. Topics covered include early shipbuilding, Native Americans, the agricultural industry in rice and indigo, plantation life and slavery and military history. The museum gift shop sells a variety of Georgetown history books, memorabilia and souvenirs. Located one block from the historic downtown thoroughfare, the museum is closed Sunday and Monday.
The North Charleston and American LaFrance Fire Museum is dedicated to teaching children about the science of fire and fire fighting. There are a number of interactive exhibits, which are designed to teach about fire safety and fire prevention. They also have a large collection of antique fire fighting gear, including old uniforms and a whole fleet of vintage firetrucks.
Middleton Place is an 18th Century rice plantation and National Historic Landmark comprising 65 acres (26 hectares) of America’s oldest landscaped Gardens, the Middleton Place House Museum and the Plantation Stableyards. The Gardens reflect the elegant symmetry of 17th Century European design. Sculpted terraces, parterres and reflecting pools full of swans are highlights of their intricate design. Rare camellias bloom in the winter, while vibrant azaleas blanket the hillside above the Rice Mill Pond in the spring. Tickets for house tours are separate from the general admission fee.
This 25,000 square-foot museum and interactive exhibit/educational playground provides a wealth of information on the history of fire fighting equipment and vehicles, as well as safety and fire prevention programs, assisted by staff dressed as firemen. Adults and children will have plenty to see, touch and hear. Considered one of the finest fire museums in the United States, visitors can view 18 fire trucks from 1857 to 1969, slide down a fire pole, or test one's knowledge, strength and skill at using fire fighting equipment. Located near the Tanger Shopping Outlet Center off Interstate 26, the museum also features a small gift shop and a Charleston Visitor Center information booth. - Natasha Lawrence
After a successful attack on the USS Housatonic, a Confederate enemy ship, on the night of February 17, 1864, this US submarine mysteriously disappeared four miles off Charleston Harbor along with her eight crewmen. The HL Hunley Submarine was discovered over 135 years later with the help of modern technology. It has since been raised and is in the process of conservation in a 90,000-gallon tank at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center on the grounds of the former US Navy Base. The crew was ceremoniously buried at Charleston's Magnolia Cemetery. Visitors can view the actual submarine, artifacts and documentaries. There is a small gift shop.
Drayton Hall is a National Trust Historic site resting on 630 lovely acres (254 hectares). The building was completed in 1742, and today it stands as a quality example of Georgian-Palladian architecture; in fact it is the oldest surviving example of this architectural style. Owned by the Drayton family for seven generations, the house remains near to its original condition, though it has been through the Revolutionary War and several hurricanes and earthquakes. This is a true piece of history, so come explore the house and enjoy the pastoral grounds. Drayton Hall regularly hosts school field trips and other educational opportunities.